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Bettles and Atigun Pass
First expedition trip of the year.
April 1-2

Brian and family
Mikey and Stephanie
Chris Olson and Anthony
Eric Francisco

680 miles (approx)

Weather: lows in teens, highs near 40.

Met up at the Fox store at 8am. Were on the road by 820.

Road was pretty good and we made our first major stop at the Yukon River bridge. Walked out on the river and took some pics of the bridge, then headed north. Made pretty good time running around 55 the whole way.

At the Arctic Circle, Chris noted a squeak in his front end. After rolling front and back, really no certain diagnosis was made. We kept on moving.

Near pump 5 we turned onto the snow road...30 mile Bettles. We were ready for a rough trail, and I nearly aired down. Instead, we were treated to a smooth trail except for the last 6 miles or so closest to Bettles. We were able to run 20 to 30 the whole way. River crossings and over flow were easy as pie. Once in Bettles we went right at the Clinic trying to get onto the bank of the Koyokuk there. Instead, we figured rather than driving around town, we would turn around and head out. Chris's squeak was louder and he discovered a failing front CV style drive shaft. He had noted that is was "balanced" around 30, so wanted to just bomb out and pull it off. He took off and we followed. Every so often, there was a lot of skid marks, telling us Chris was still hauling the mail. Chris decided to leave the shaft on.

Once out, we drove to Coldfoot.
Being a long day already we had dinner there. They offered for us to camp anywhere on the grounds, but we drove 12-ish miles north to a nice pull out. We set up camp and had a fire roaring until after 11pm.

Next morning, a skiff of new snow greeted us.
Breakfast was breakfast burritos courtesy of Valerie. Eric heated up eggs and burger, then we tossed it all together. Valerie also made some yummy bagels with peanut butter and Greek yogurt sour cream spread...warmed up over the fire and they were great. A UAF lynx and owl researcher stopped in trying to track a lynx. We chatted for awhile, passing on intel from the sounds of our night there.

We then headed north toward Atigun.
We saw a lot to do up there.
The rock glaciers (modern term frozen debris lobes) around mile 219.

Road was great and the climb up the Chandalar Shelf, then up to Atigun pass, was smooth.
Took a group shot in the avalanche safe zone, then headed back.

Just south of Sukakpuk mountain, Chris' shaft came apart and he pulled it on the side of the trail.
We then kept rolling south, refueling in Coldfoot, then headed south.

We stopped at the Yukon again and pulled down the boat launch onto the river to take another group shot (sans Chris, who wanted to get home and took off alone).

The rest of the trip home was pretty calm.
The roads warmed up and there was plenty of slush and mud.

Got back home at 8pm on the money Sunday night.

Great adventure trip.
Seemed to be fodder for another summer adventure up the Dalton.

Thanks for all that came!
We had a blast! Thanks again to everyone that came out! I can see a lot more exploring the area this summer!

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